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NectarOM-Perceptions-of-Social-Media-Marketing-Feb2013Social media marketing: got to do it, but is it really a revenue driver? That appears to be the perception, at least according to survey results [download page] from a newly-released Nectar Online Media study. Respondents were nearly universal in their belief that social media is important to their organization (94%) and that it enhances awareness of their brand (92%). 8 in 10 also checked social off as a strategic imperative – mirroring results from a Facebook study last year in which 6 in 10 senior marketers said social was key to their company’s survival. But amidst all the importance assigned to social media marketing, the Nectar Online Media survey respondents (the majority of whom have responsibility for or influence over their organization’s social media marketing) were less enthusiastic about its ability to drive revenue, or even their ability to perform social media marketing successfully. Only 46% agreed or strongly agreed that social media drives revenue for their organization, and just 28% said their program was “best-in-class.”

Perhaps it’s simply a case of those two latter points being inter-related. Perhaps as respondents gain more confidence in their ability to execute high-level social media marketing programs, they’ll be more likely to see some real returns. Or maybe despite all the excitement, social media just isn’t a revenue-driver.

Either way, respondents will forge ahead: 7 in 10 said they’d up their social media investments over the coming year. That seems like a whole of faith in an unproven channel, given that 73% of those same respondents aren’t currently measuring social media ROI. But that just circles back to those initial results: despite the lack of clarity, most simply believe that social media is a priority that, if nothing else, is a strategic branding tool.

Other Findings:

  • The most common uses of social media by respondents are: brand building (90%); customer engagement (81%); and a channel to broadcast messages to customers (78%).
  • In terms of strategic importance, Facebook ranks first, ahead of LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook also gets the majority of resources.
  • 36% of respondents are using Pinterest and 28% Google+. 60% forecast an increase in their use of Pinterest this year.
  • 7 in 10 respondents allocate less than 20% of their marketing budgets to social media.

About the Data: The Nectar Online Media study was conducted in partnership with the Social Media Club, among more than 400 respondents from companies of all sizes, and from a large cross-section of industries, with concentrations in advertising/marketing/communications, media & entertainment, nonprofit, and retail. More than two-thirds of participants were from organizations with less than $500 million in revenue, and another quarter work at organizations with more than $1 billion.

The vast majority of respondents were at the Director or above level in their organizations and were social media decision-makers and/or influencers for their companies.

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